This is not the first time I’ve abstained from alcohol for 30 days. In fact, we do it every year, usually in April, but I felt starting off the year alcohol free could be the start of something good. And I was right.
The 2019 dry January edition was actually preplanned and something I had thought about for several months prior. I wasn’t loving my relationship with alcohol. In fact, I thought about giving it up all together when my anxiety got really bad last year because it was doing nothing but hindering progress and positivity. Not to mention, it’s the easiest way to pack on the pounds and bloat— at the same time. Super fun.
This year was different though. With stress and anxiety at an all time high, something had to change and there was no better time than now to test out my theory. And just to be clear, this didn’t mean I didn’t go out. In fact, mocktails and super friendly, encouraging bartenders made me even forget there was no alcohol involved!
Let it be known I woke up January 1 with the worst hangover I’ve ever had so it wasn’t the worst way to start this cleanse. After three days of recovery, feeling back to normal, I layered in workouts every other morning which kept me energized, sleeping better and off to the right start to the month.
Over the course of a couple of week, so. much. improved. On the 14th day, I woke up with tons of energy, positivity and clarity. And it was a Tuesday. I hate Tuesdays. So that was a huge sign for me that this was the new normal and I had never felt better. I thought for sure urges and cravings would start creeping in at this point, but between mocktails, flavored water and low bloat, there was zero need to indulge.
Hellooooo PMS! It was that time of the month, but I will tell you, what normally would be a week of full on cramping and bloating was actually bearable and no where near the regular routine, which I can only attribute to the lack of alcohol and being more hydrated.
This is where it all turned around for me. Mentally and emotionally, I was in the best place with low anxiety, low depression, tons of positivity, energy and optimistic– none of which I had felt all at once, consistency for a long time. Physically, it looked as if I had lost ten pounds in my stomach, chin, cheeks and I could see my collarbones again. My skin was bouncy, soft and hydrated with no signs of breakouts. I was literally feeling like my best self with a new found confidence, routine and happiness.
I learned so much about myself, my body and how much restraint and determination I had over these four weeks. It’s been incredible to watch this change in just a couple of weeks and wanting to stick with it. I’ve learned how hurtful alcohol can be to my body and the unbelievable amount of negative traits that come along with it. The tricky part will be to layer it back into my life since I’m not ready to give it up quite yet, rather find a better, finer balance with much less of it.
UPDATED: February 25
Since I first wrote this post, I’ve started drinking again. My tolerance is incredibly low and I definitely feel the buzz quicker. I knew I would need to try it again to understand the full cycle and comparisons– did I just have a great month of working out and the adrenaline of a countdown clock? Yes and no. I think the first several weeks of implementing a new routine has some very quick benefits and the harder part is keeping up with it. That has definitely been true given having a few drinks, a glass of wine after work, happy hour, date nights all revolve around alcohol and it’s a great way to spice up the routine, work week and start the weekend. Without alcohol, it can all quickly become a little boring. I started off with just one glass of wine or cocktail on the weekends which then lead to a few more, testing the waters and seeing where I could feel comfortable at a new limit. My birthday weekend away at Seabrook Island will be a good test with time off, vacation with the family and a higher desire to consume and indulge– it is vacation after all!
UPDATED: March 4
After a long weekend of indulgence, I’m going to take another break from alcohol for the rest of the month. In just four short days, I feel I’ve completely undone all the progress and improvements that I set forth on in January. While I’m still working out almost every day during the week, drinking cocktails and wine over this past time away has confirmed all my suspicions about how my entire body reacts to alcohol. It’s not for me, it doesn’t benefit me in any way and I truly have no desire to drink given the negative effects it has on me.
I don’t know how this story will end, I definitely want to keep journaling my journey and test different ways to keep it in my life in moderation– which could just be a glass of wine once in a while– but for now, I’m saying no to better myself and get back to a good place and better relationship with myself.
Thanks for following along,